For the second consecutive year, the Golden’s Bridge Fire Department has canceled its plans for a Memorial Day Parade and community barbecue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Golden’s Bridge firefighters gathered around the American Legion Monument, which rests outside the front entrance of the firehouse, for a private ceremony to honor those who died in service to the country while in the U.S. military.
At 9:30 a.m. this Memorial Day, May 31, firefighters participated in a ceremony that acknowledged the nation’s war deceased and, in particular, gave special recognition to the 76 Golden’s Bridge residents who served in World Wars I and II whose names are engraved on the bronze plaques of the American Legion War Monument, according to Golden’s Bridge Fire Commissioner Joe Simoncini, a member of the GBFD and chairman of the department’s annual Memorial Day commemoration events.
During this year’s Memorial Day ceremonial observance, Golden’s Bridge firefighters brought the American flag to half-staff while simultaneously tolling the fire bell. Floral wreaths of red, white and blue carnations were placed on stands on either side of the American Legion Monument, which is situated across from the GBFD’s iconic fire bell at the front entrance of the firehouse.
“It was a toned-down, but dignified event that offered proper acknowledgement to those who gave their lives for our country,” Simoncini said.
Prior to the event, the GBFD’s community partners – including Lawton Adams, Hardscrabble Farms, and Lincolndale Landscaping – provided free-of-charge labor, plants, stone, gravel, mulch and other materials to beautify the grounds directly around and across from the monument. Crisp new American flags were also be placed on utility poles along Rt. 138 in the immediate vicinity of the firehouse.
The American Legion Monument was relocated from the Golden’s Bridge Community House – on Old Bedford Road in the Old Golden’s Bridge section of the hamlet – to the Golden’s Bridge Firehouse in October of 2019. Led by Simoncini, the Fire District had successfully petitioned the Town of Lewisboro to relocate the monument to the firehouse after the Town Board approved the sale of the Community House to private owners. The relocation was a reunion of sorts since the GBFD’s long history with the American Legion Monument dates back to the 1960s when the fire department was its original home and caretaker.
Although this year’s Memorial Day ceremony was closed to the public, local residents, like last year, were invited to pay their respects to service men and women at the American Legion Monument. Visitors were asked to abide by the following procedures: parking permissible only in the area to the right of the firehouse, no parking in front of the firehouse doors or impeding the entrance/exit to the lot, limiting the visit to two minutes, and wearing face coverings.
Despite increased numbers of people with COVID vaccinations and the state relaxing gathering restrictions, Golden’s Bridge Fire Chief Al Melillo said the GBFD continues to maintain its personnel-only policy at the firehouse out of an abundance of caution. “The building remains closed to all outsiders, except for those performing non-firematic essential and emergency repair and maintenance work,” said Melillo.
“This policy helps protect the health, safety and well-being of our firefighters in order to keep them on the front lines for fire, medical and other 9-1-1 emergency response in our community,” explained Melillo, who said the GBFD looks forward to 2022 when the entire community can join in honoring our war heroes with a celebratory parade along Route 138 and a gathering at the firehouse.